By The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — With his 10 nominations, Eminem has the potential to sweep Sunday night’s Grammy Awards — as well as win that elusive album of the year trophy.
But the gifted and twisted rapper might get tripped up by some fierce competition, including a song that rivals him for coarseness — Cee Lo Green’s “(Expletive) You,” which is in competition with Eminem’s “Love The Way You Lie,” featuring Rihanna, in the record and song of the year categories.
Rihanna and Lady Gaga were among the early winners at the Grammys, with awards given out in a ceremony before the prime-time CBS telecast later Sunday.
Eminem’s “Recovery” was 2010’s best-selling album and a favorite to win in the album category. It marked a major comeback for the rapper, considered one of the greatest but who had been addled by a prescription drug addiction and critical malaise in recent years. It is the third time he’s been nominated for album of the year; he’s lost twice before.
But he also faces tough competition in the category, from the likes of Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” and Lady Gaga’s “The Fame Monster.” Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” and Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” are also nominated.
Lady Gaga won the first award of the day as the Grammys pre-telecast ceremony, hosted by best new artist nominee Esperanza Spalding and Grammy winner Bobby McFerrin, began in the afternoon. Rihanna was also among the early winners, beating out Lady Gaga for best dance recording with “Only Girl (In The World).” It’s where the bulk of the Recording Academy’s 109 awards are doled out. The show is only broadcast online and top nominees usually don’t attend; Lady Gaga wasn’t present to pick up her trophy for best short form music video for “Bad Romance” — she was too busy being carried down the red carpet in a huge egg, on a cross.
Inside the Los Angeles Convention Center, comedian Kathy Griffin, a presenter, took advantage of not having to censor herself for TV as she peppered her jokes with expletives. She joked about the dozens and dozens of categories to go through: “Seriously, keep these speeches short, we have 90 (expletive) categories.”
The live telecast will feature the top nominees, like record of the year. “Need You Now” is nominated in both song and the record of the year categories. Other nominees for record of the year include Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind,” the New York native’s anthem for his city featuring Alicia Keys, and rapper B.o.B’s “Nothin’ On You,” with a melodious hook courtesy of Bruno Mars.
Although Mars is enjoying solo success on the charts now with “Just The Way You Are,” which got him nominated for best pop male vocal performance, the bulk of his seven Grammy nominations come from his collaborative efforts. He is also a co-writer on “(Expletive) You” and his production group, the Smeezingtons, is up for producer of the year.
“(Expletive) You” is an unlikely hit — a retro groove with a vulgar rebuke to a former girlfriend and her new lover. Its popularity was boosted when the clean version of the hit, “Forget You,” was performed by Gwyneth Paltrow on Fox TV’s “Glee.” Paltrow and Green are slated to sing the song on the Grammy telecast on Sunday, along with Jim Henson’s puppets, completing an ironic family-friendly transformation of a wash-your-mouth-out-with-soap song.
The collaboration is among the many buzz-worthy moments the Recording Academy has planned for the Grammy telecast.
Mick Jagger — along with Raphael Saadiq — is set to perform a tribute to the late soul great Solomon Burke, marking the first time Jagger has sung on the Grammy stage. He’ll join two other icons at the Grammys this year, Bob Dylan and Barbra Streisand. Ailing icon Aretha Franklin will be honored in absentia by Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera and Martina McBride, Yolonda Adams, and Florence Welch of the best new artist nominee Florence and the Machine.
Another best new artist hopeful, Justin Bieber, is set to sing with his friend Jaden Smith (son of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith) and Bieber’s mentor, Usher. Eminem is also slated to perform with his mentor, Dr. Dre.
Other artists expected to perform on Sunday’s show include Bruno Mars, Arcade Fire, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Drake and Rihanna. The ceremony will be broadcast live on CBS from Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented Saturday to Julie Andrews, Roy Haynes, the Juilliard String Quartet, the Kingston Trio, the Ramones, Dolly Parton and George Beverly Shea.